‘Hi, How Are You?’ Project Showcases Mental Health In Austin

AUSTIN, TX — The Hi, How Are You Project — a mental health-focused nonprofit inspired by the life and legacy of the late, great Daniel Johnston — and university student housing leader American Campus Communities are teaming up again in the name of mental health, this time for World Mental Health Day.

In commemorating World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, the two groups have scheduled an awareness event premiering at 7 p.m. on Qello Concerts by Stingray at qello.com/hhayp. The program, hosted by Fantastic Negrito, will feature a mix of covers of the late world-renowned musician and visual artist Daniel Johnston, along with relevant original songs from a variety of artists including Jeff Tweedy, Lucius, Tunde Adebimpe, Bully, Kate Davis, Molly Burch, and Sabrina Ellis + Mobley.

As part of continued efforts to promote well-being and reduce the stigma around mental health, especially among college students who are proven to be one of the most impacted groups by the stress of this year, the Oct. 10 program is free and open to the public, though Hi, How Are You Project is accepting donations help further their mission of inspiring new conversations and creating thoughtful media content and events.

Details from a new study titled the College Student Fall 2020 Mental Health Report will be highlighted and discussed during the event. Conducted by ACC and the Hi, How Are You Project, more than 12,000 student residents from universities across the country were surveyed in order to get a pulse of students’ mindsets and what they are doing to maintain strong mental health and well-being given the added stressors that COVID-19 brings.

The survey is one of the largest specifically fielded to college-aged students. Preliminary findings reveal that 66 percent agree that COVID-19 has forced them to take a closer look at their mental health as a key component of their overall health and that 84 percent of students said they choose to listen to or play music when asked what they do specifically to relieve stress and anxiety.

“Whether it’s remote learning or the fear of the unknowns of the virus, navigating the pandemic has added another layer of stress and anxiety to college life,” Dr. Sonia Krishna, a board certified physician specializing in Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatry and Hi, How Are You Project board member / resident advisor, said in a prepared statement. “The good news is, the data from the upcoming report shows us that this generation clearly understands that their mental health and wellness is just as important as their physical health, and they are open to having dialogues to help themselves and also others. We are encouraged that the findings from the survey reinforce the importance of destigmatizing conversations surrounding mental wellness, especially amid the challenges this year has brought.”

The Hi, How Are You Project’s mission is to remove the stigma and shame around mental health so people will feel open to communicate. Every year, January 22nd marks Hi, How Are You Day, which is inspired by Daniel Johnston, who struggled with his own mental health issues, and encourages people to check in on a neighbor, friend, co-worker, family member or loved one and ask, “Hi, How Are You?.”

American Campus Communities has been the hero sponsor of Hi, How Are You Day and continues its work with the non-profit on special trainings that are a guiding tenet for American Campus Communities’ Residence Life program, which offers events and information geared toward students with health and wellness as a key topic.

“The Hi, How Are You Project was founded with the mission to remove the stigma around mental health conversations and to encourage people to check in on a neighbor, friend, co-worker, family member, or loved one and sincerely ask the simple question, “Hi, How Are You?”,” Tom Gimbel, co-founder of Hi, How Are You Project,” said in a prepared statement. Asking residents, ‘Hi, how are you?’ is a simple step toward starting a conversation about their wellbeing and letting them know someone cares.”

The Oct. 10 program follows similarly impactful efforts by these organizations this year, which put out a call for people everywhere to sign a pledge asking others “Hi, How Are You?” inspired by the infamous Austin mural by Johnston for Mental Health Awareness Month in May, thanks to the help of artists such as Sharon Van Etton, Britt Daniel, Ryan Bingham, Fat Tony and many more who took the pledge.

After receiving an outpouring of support and over 30,000 pledges from that initiative, it is the hope of the Hi, How Are You Project and American Campus Communities that bringing people together in the name of music, art, and the late Daniel Johnston will continue to be a driving force for destigmatizing mental health and lifting spirits in these challenging times.
For more information on the Hi, How Are You Project and their other year-round initiatives with American Campus Communities, visit www.hihowareyou.org and www.americancampus.com.

This article originally appeared on the Austin Patch

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